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British Tinnitus Association
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Hearing tests on the High Street

I have just had a really awful weekend on an expensive course, not able to hear the instructor and feeling like a bit of an attention seeker. I think that my hearing loss and tinnitus have combined to make a hearing test a bit of an emergency now. What are your experiences of High St hearing tests? I believe that Boots and Specsavers do them. Are they any good? I would be grateful for any advice and support as to which is the best route to take.

Thank you, I am new to BTA, and pleased to find you all.

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Hi, I had a hearing test at amplifon on 2 Jan and it was quite basic and showed normal hearing which I was surprised at, I have tinnitus in my right ear and it feels like I have hearing loss aswell. Was hoping a hearing aid would help with the tinnitus. I then had an ent appointment on 14 Jan and the audiologist did a far more thorough hearing test and I do have hearing loss and have been referred to have hearing aids. Hope this info helps.

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Thank you, simb999, that’s definitely the sort of info I was hoping for. I appreciate your help and won’t waste my time on the high st. Thanks again.

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Definitely go to local hospital ENT audiologists as you’ll get a more thorough hearing test done there. My hearing loss is only mild but tinnitus is loud so I got hearing aids with fitted masking sounds and spare parts free. You’ll pay a tidy sum at Specsavers etc so I wouldn’t bother if I were you. Good luck!

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Thank you, I think that you are confirming there that I could get aids which mask the sound of the tinnitus. I feel like crying at the thought! Thank you, my day is made!

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I would suggest that you try the NHS first by getting a referral from your GP. I was very happy with my NHS hearing aids and the aftercare. We had an excellent Audiology Service.

Unfortunately our CCG decided to close all our Audiology Departments and transferred everyone over to Specsavers which weren`t very helpful.

So I purchased my aids from Boots and am very happy with both the aids and the service. I`m seen every six months and have a hearing test every two years. And any repairs are dealt with quickly.

Hope this helps.

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Thank you Lynne, that is also very reassuring, as I’m not sure about audiology services around here and wondered if I might end up on the high st because of that. Thanks again

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I would advise you to go down the NHS route first. The High Street outlets are profit driven which says it all!

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Thank you, Jimmuck, I’m going to make an appointment to see my gp tomorrow and ask for a referral.

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I have been down the high street route they will persuade you to take hearing aids for free 14 day trial at an unbelievable cost to buy, I am now under the audiologist at my local hospital , he has a special interest in the big T and supplied me with a pair of hearing aids/maskers for free ( plus a spare pair to borrow if igo on holiday), stick to nhs 100% you hopefully won’t regret it and save at least 3k on a pair privately which to be honest are not as good as the opticon ones I have via nhs for FREE,, good luck.

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Thank you Woodentop, I have made an appointment to see my gp tomorrow and will ask for a referral. I’m beginning to think that I should have done this ages ago. So glad to have accidentally found this group. Thanks again

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Those of you who still have an NHS Audiology Department are so lucky. Ours was first class and then the CCG decided to close it. There are now a lot of people in Stoke-on-Trent who have no access to free hearing aids or help with tinnitus. There is no way that Specsavers who are now the sole provider of NHS hearing aids, can ever come close to the excellence of the Audiology Department.

And now the CCG has had another bright idea - they are going to spend £280,000 reviewing the prescriptions of 35,000 mainly pensioners.

Lynne

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Hello Lynne

That is unfair. I have been in contact with my local clinic, they state that they will see me for an assessment within 6 weeks of receiving my referral and then it will be a further 14 weeks to fit an aid. It’s such a long time that I am tempted to look at Boots. They have done my sight tests for years and you appear happy with them. I might look into that. Feeling a bit despondent. ☹️

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Wow, that is incredible? I am in Stockport and the audiology Department at the hospital is full to overflowing every day also they have a “ drop in” on Monday and Friday between 8.30 am and noon, first class service sort of restores your faith in nhs, but the thought of it ever closing, makes me shudder as everyone there is nothing but fantastic.

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hi woodentop99, hope you're managing ok, i'm in stockport aswell and have been referred by ent to the tinnitus clinic at stepping hill and also for hearing aids , its reassuring to know the staff there are good. ive had t for 3 months now and still learning to cope, still not actually spoken to a professional about it, just my gp and the ent doctor and that was only 5 mins chat. hoping the appointments come through soon. take care

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Hi there, you won’t be disappointed, there are x2 staff there who specialize in T,, Marin and carol,, I see Martin, without his input I would have been sectioned by now, I kid you not,, the drop in there is invaluable and if you need to you can call Martin and he will phone you back same day at some point, if you see him mention this site then he will recognize it and know it’s me,,keep in touch, you never know we may meet up there?

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thanks very much for the info, its really good to know we can get help from people who specifically know about tinnitus, i'll mention the site and your recommendation.sounds like they really helped you out, it really is a horrible condition and im hoping they can help me aswell, take care.

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Hi, hope you don't mind me asking but is your tinnitus through hearing loss? I was tested the other day 13th of Feb and was told that my hearing was fine although my left ear was weaker which they put down to the ear infection that brought on the T, never had it before and had always wondered if the hearing aid amplify the ambient sound why it wasn't offered to people with T and then saw your comment and so was wondering well that lol. Did your T come through hearing loss?

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Hello djv, I have seen an ENT consultant through a private scheme and he has said that my tinnitus is caused by some hearing loss. I have had tinnitus in increasing loudness for around 20 years but it has become more unmanageable recently, as has a marked struggle to hear. The consultant found that I struggle with sound in the higher range, so Women’s voices, birdsong etc is a challenge.

I am also going to see the NHS for a consultation next week.

Were you seen in the NHS? Will your tinnitus resolve itself? Are you having any aids to help? I must say that a part of me didn’t want to know all of this, but now, I really can’t wait to hear well again, but it could be several months before I am fitted with an aid ☹️

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I saw the ENT at the NHS. I’ve been told that it will go by four or five different doctors 2 were ENTs. I’m hoping it does. I had a hearing test as well and was told my hearing was good other than the left ear being slightly weaker but they said that’s probably because of the infection. I would wear hearing aids if it meant I could get rid of the ringing/high pitched noise.

I’m holding out hope that it does go. The last few days the volume seems to get really low especially as night comes but I have had the tv on white noise playing and some podcasts running from the pc just to make sure I can’t hear it and today it’s quite low in the ear so I’m holding hope.

I’ve read that tinnitus by ear infection does normally go at some point between a few weeks and a couple of months 😐 so like I said I’m holding out for it to go. It’s only been six days since the ear cleaning so it’s still early days for that part. I’m hoping. I’ve read a few saying if I didn’t have it before the infection then it will most likely go so there’s that hope.

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That’s fantastic news. Although if it weren’t to clear, it isn’t the end of the world. When I listen to mine it is awfully loud but I can get by with listening around it and it’s been a long time now. Having said that I would give it away tomorrow if I could, but we are amazing animals and can adapt to many things. Good luck to you 👍🏼

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Crikey Woodentop, I’m feeling such envy. My GP hasn’t even sent the referral off yet and my tinnitus feels like it’s getting louder each day since I thought I’d have to do something about it. It’s great that you and simb999 have the nhs in all its glory. I’ve got a feeling that the nhs here will be worth waiting for, it’s just impossible with all this austerity going on. No wonder Boots and Specsavers are doing so well. Good luck to you.

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Many thanks for your post, as I said, it sort of restores you faith in nhs,, as this service has “saved” me and I don’t say that lightly, ok the bad days are still there ( today being one) however I am now used to both hearing aids I have, at first I couldn’t stop fiddling with them, more easier now, though at times me T really breaks through completely, as apparently with the “ maskers” you cannot drown out completely the T you have to set them so you can hear BOTH the masking noise and T together.A really barmy thing to mention is that on setting 1 it’s for hearing aid only, I never used this one but have by chance found out if I put number 1 on and turn the volume up by 1 notch only in each it really helps me as drowns out for some reason mrT so I transfer to this setting when I am ready to go to bed and now my sleep has improved tremendously compared to having only 30 minutes in two weeks back in October.

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I’m sorry to hear that you have felt so low at times Woodentop, I can relate to feeling low and frustrated about it. Your description of managing the hearing aids to mask the tinnitus doesn’t feel me with optimism, but, maybe, like managing the thing itself, it takes time, perseverance and determination and it looks like you might be starting to get the hang of it. Tonight my tinnitus is pretty annoying. I did an online hearing test which says that I have good hearing and may not benefit from hearing aids!!! Maybe it’s my tinnitus alone that’s the problem.

It sounds awful to have had so little sleep, I’m glad to hear that you are over the worst, and that, though there are still bad days, you may have put those mostly behind you. Take care.

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Hi icicles, just to clarify, my audiologist whom I have complete trust in absolutely insists that when I set my “ masking” sounds it MUST not be set to drown on the T, he said, in order to habituate it must be set so you can still hear the T at a level to suit you, however because of the state o was in and extremely poor sleep pattern he advised me on going to bed , to sleep, it’s ok to then set both my aids to a level that at this point drowns out mr T but on awakening then switch back to plan A.It is worth mentioning he advises against turning the volume very high for long periods as it won’t help but in your time of need it’s ok to do for a very short time, stay strong.

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Thank you, Woodentop, I’m going to give it a massive go. Here’s to sleeping well!

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I know - I think we must be the only city in the country who doesn`t now have an NHS Audiology Service. I suppose in the end it all comes down to money.

I think anyone with complex needs is still seen and that was originally supposed to cover tinnitus sufferers but I was just told to go to Specsavers who at the time were most unhelpful saying that they couldn`t do repairs because they didn`t have the spare parts and it meant having to have a referral from my GP in order to get an appointment. So I gave up in the end and bought my aids from Boots but, of course, not everyone can afford to do that.

Lynne

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Yes that is a long time. I remember feeling the same when I had my GP referral in October 2014 and the appointment coming through for the end of December.

Depends if you feel that you can wait that long. You do get a more thorough hearing test with the NHS and I was also referred from there to a counsellor for my tinnitus.

Lynne

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Hi, Icicles,

Cool name! I had a hearing test with Boots about a year ago but they didn't offer any help about my tinnitus, they just referred me back to my doctor. They did confirm i have a slight hearing loss on my tinnitus side. They gave me an option for a more intensive test and a price list of hearing aids ranging from about £350 - £3500. If I feel the need to pursue this further I'll probably try the NHS route first.

This is just my experience - others may have fared better.

Respectfully submitted,

Keoni

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Cool! Haha!

If only I was as cool as my name! I think that I will think this over. I have made the wrong decision based on trying to do short cuts or avoid waiting in the past. I don’t want to go up and down the high street spending money only to have to come back to the nhs and start the wait all over again. Thanks for taking the time to reply, Keoni, I appreciate your help

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Hi, Icicles,

At a guess I would say that the high street option is certainly more expensive but it might be easier to get appointments for any adjustments or repairs; whereas the NHS might be a "free" service but may have limited appointment availability. Also, if it's anything like my local hospital, parking is a nightmare and that usually results in being forced to take extra time off work.

I suppose in an ideal world there would be a free NHS service available on every high street.

I do hope you find something that helps you in some small way at least.

Respectfully submitted,

Keoni

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